The Bombay high court (HC) struck down a first information report (FIR) filed against a school teacher for abetting suicide of a Class 10 girl, who ended her life after one of her classmates suspected her of having stolen her mobile phone and the teacher conveyed it to her parents.
“Though the entire happening depicts an unhappy state of affairs, we do not find either from the allegations in FIR or from the suicide note that applicant was responsible in any way for commission of suicide by Nikita (the deceased student),” said the division bench of Justice BR Gavai and Justice IK Jain while exonerating Jayashree Kotgirwar, a teacher with Kesrimal Girls School, Wardha.
The incident took place on January 29, 2016. On that fateful day, one of the students complained to Kotgirwar that her mobile phone had been stolen and she suspected Nikita of stealing it. Kotgirwar, therefore, called Nikita’s mother to school and informed her over the phone about the entire episode. However, when Nikita’s mother reached the school she discovered that her daughter had committed suicide by hanging.
The deceased had left behind a suicide note in which she stated that she took the drastic step since she had been accused of stealing the mobile phone. Nikita’s father then approached the police alleging that his daughter took the drastic step because of the false allegation levelled against her by the teacher. Following his complaint, the Ramnagar police registered an FIR against Kotigirwar and booked her for abetting Nikita’s suicide.
The teacher then approached the high court seeking quashing of the FIR against her.
The high court found merit in the contentions raised by Kotgirwar’s counsel. It noted that the FIR revealed that a student complained to the teacher that her mobile has been stolen and the said student expressed her suspicion on Nikita. “It is not even the case of the prosecution that applicant (teacher) suspected the deceased for theft of mobile of another student and she falsely blamed the deceased for the theft,” said the bench.
The bench observed that the FIR and the suicide note would not amount to abetment, as defined under Section 107 of the Indian Penal Code. “Therefore the applicant cannot be compelled to face trial for the said offence as allowing the continuance of criminal action would amount to abuse of process of law.”